Marcia Cleveland - Northwestern (Evanston) to Northwestern (Chicago)

Evanston to Chicago

19.9 km (12.4 miles)

7 hours, 36 minutes on 17 September 2022

Observed and documented by Rebekah Braslow

First documented swim of this route.



  • Name: Marcia Cleveland
  • Gender: female
  • Age on swim date: 58
  • Nationality: United States
  • Resides: Wilmette, Illinois

Support Personnel

  • Andy Walberer - crew
  • Ted Baumgartner - crew
  • Karen Lundgren - crew
  • Scott Sauders - pilot


Rebekah Braslow. Medical doctor, North Shore Masters swim team member.

Escort Vessel

Name Type Port
unnamed former fire rescue boat, 20 ft Chicago Yacht Academy

Swim Parameters

  • Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
  • Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
  • Equipment used: Textile swimsuit (Speedo), latex cap, Speedo Hydroplex goggles.

Route Definition

  • Body of Water: Lake Michigan
  • Route Type: one-way
  • Start Location: Lighthouse Beach, Evanston, IL (42.064226, -87.674297)
  • Finish Location: Ohio Street Beach, Chicago, IL (42.064226, -87.674297)
  • Minimum Route Distance: 19.9 km (12.4 miles) (map)


Undocumented swim of same route by Doug McConnell in 2020. Route follows a similar (but shorter) stretch of lakefront to the Chicago Skyline Swim.

Swim Data

  • Start: 17 September 2022, 07:19:00 (Central Daylight, America/Chicago, UTC-5).
  • Finish: 17 September 2022, 14:55:00
  • Elapsed: 7 hours, 36 minutes, 0 seconds.

Summary of Conditions

Feature Min Max
Water Temp (F) 68.6 74
Air Temp (F) 70 81
Wind (m/s) 3 5

GPS Track

Trackpoint frequency: 20 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).

Click to expand map.

Speed Plot

Nutrition: 12oz Endurox + 1 Hammer gel. First feed @ 60 min; every 40 min thereafter.

Observer Log

Swimmer Statement

by Marcia Cleveland

I loved this swim. The windy conditions made it hard but the day was beautiful and I had an escort boat filled with happy, enthusiastic friends.

This past spring, I swam the Ka’iwi Channel between Moloka’i and Oahu, 28 miles of challenging open ocean swimming. The training for that swim was comprehensive and got me into excellent shape. Early in the summer, once I was recovered from Hawaii, I wanted another local challenge, so I set my eyes on swimming the Northwestern Swim between Evanston and Chicago. The original date was supposed to be Sunday September 18^th^ but the Saturday date worked much better for the schedules of everyone involved so we swam on Saturday. One of my favorite aspects of this swim was that we could start when we wanted to and everyone could sleep in their own bed. It was also a “first time” for Scott, Karen, and Rebekah in their respective roles. Scott turned out to be a superb escort boat pilot and we will surely seek out his talents again. Karen had never crewed for a swim before and she lived up to my expectations that she would be outstanding in all ways. Rebekah did an excellent job on her first swim as observer and learned a lot.

Like most swims conducted along the Chicago Shoreline, this swim was very straightforward.

I contacted Scott in late July about piloting and he found the boat. We mapped out the course which essentially was a straight line. I knew I’d have a lot of folks who would want to crew so I didn’t ask anyone until a week beforehand. Since I have all the gear and pack lists at the ready, I got everything together a few days before the swim and made sure the crew was well-briefed about my needs and wants. Since we regularly swim together anyway, they knew my swimming style and personality. I emphasized that I was looking at this as a long training swim and a learning experience for all of us.

The swim went without a hitch, except for the relentless southern wind that stirred up a lot of head-on chop for nearly all of the swim. Coupled with the beautiful Saturday weather that lured lots of boaters out on the water, I had plenty of waves to content with but I always thought I’d finish. Having Andy, Ted, and Karen pace me at the properly spaced times was fun for me. I was never bored or felt down. My body held up well despite the beating and like most swims that finish on city beach on glorious weekend days, not a soul apart from our merry little band noticed my arrival. I highly recommend this swim since the land is never far away, the views of the city is architecturally beautiful, and the conditions are manageable. I loved every stroke!


Click to enlarge.